Historical note

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Oct 4 03:49:27 UTC 2008

I didn't know all about Marcia's dad until she asked me whether I'd
heard of "Cordwainer Smith." Of course I had, since I'd read his
entire ouevre. I'd long since heard of her father, too, but I had no
idea that he was not only her father, but also the famous
science-fiction author.

On Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 10:36 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Historical note
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 10:19 PM -0400 10/3/08, Mark Mandel wrote:
>>My word! My immediate reaction reaction to that name was not at all
>>professional... that is, not based in my, or her, professional life.
>>The last name is very unusual, and I know it only in connection with
>>  the psychological warfare expert and author Paul M. A.
>>  Linebarger (1913-1966), whose visionary stories as "Cordwainer
>>Smith" are among
>>  the science fiction field's most haunting achievements.
>>    (http://www.plokta.com/pnn//stories.php?story=01/11/18/9862904)
>>... who, I am not surprised to find out, was the father of Marcia
>>Linebarger Garfinkle.
>>I believe I also had a brief correspondence with her in my earlier
>>professional life.
> You may well have, since the two of you have been working in
> linguistic-related positions in Philly for quite some time; I didn't
> know that about Marcia's father.  As for Wilson's note, I can't
> remember not being familiar with "Now, {don't/you can't} say I've
> never done anything for you" under the kind of circumstances he
> mentions.  I believe the most recent time I've used it or heard it
> used in my presence was in connection with the passing of a useful
> card in various games in (dealer's choice) poker.
> LH

If the person isn't joking, then he's saying approximately what I'd
say, under those circumstances. OTOH, a person could use it jokingly,
but, IMO, that would empty the phrase of any content, rendering it


>>On Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 9:35 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>  Ca.1974 at M.I.T., I had occasion to do a similarly-trivial - such
>>>  that I've forgotten what it was - yet meaningful, favor, for a very
>>>  nice girl (well, girl in those days), known, no doubt, to many, here,
>>>  Marcia Linebarger.
>>m a m
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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